Life’s A Beach couldn’t be a more appropriate title for Easy Life’s debut album. There’s a seducing buoyancy to the band who have been surfing the waves that have come their way over the last few years, and the infectious energy that runs through their work has made these Leicestershire likely lads a go-to destination for a pandemic pick me up.
Ever since dropping their debut single, ‘Pockets’, in 2017, Easy Life have released an album’s worth of material already across three mixtapes that fans can get their teeth stuck into on streaming services. Rather than re-hash it all together for their album, the quintet have instead used the last twelve months to make a record representing who Easy Life are in 2021.
The most alluring attribute that the five-piece have at their disposal is that they don’t fit into any pre-determined box, and each release sees an evolution to the Easy Life sound. Their unique blend of jazz, hip-hop and singalong worthy choruses is seeing the group re-invent the wheel, with the overriding theme of escapism bridging their broad-ranging work.
Recently, the band has teamed up with Adidas Originals to get behind the new Stan Smith, Forever, project, sustainable shoe part of the brand’s End Plastic Waste campaign. The collaboration celebrates a cause close to Easy Life’s heart and a message they previously got behind on their 2019 single ‘Earth’, even shooting the video at a plastic recycling plant in Morocco. Frontman Murray Matravers even grew up on an organic farm in Leicestershire, and sustainability is something ingrained in him from an early age.
“Climate change is a massive issue that we have to deal with on a daily basis,” Matravers says while explaining why the band got behind the campaign over Zoom. “We talk about loads of stuff that affects everyone, and climate change is just another one of those things. That’s why the fit with Adidas made so much sense when they asked us to do it. Shoe companies should be doing this if it’s possible, which it clearly is, then why isn’t everyone doing it?
“It’s been pretty much drummed into me from an early age. My Mum and Dad still give me a bollocking about it, like when I first said we were doing something with Adidas, they said, ‘Well, that sucks’. They give me a hard time about everything. Especially when we were flying to and from America, they were like, ‘Naughty, naughty,” the singer laughed.
The band know that at their size, touring isn’t the most environmentally friendly occupation, and have done their best to cut down on carbon emissions where possible. However, cramming 14-people into a vehicle isn’t the side of touring that Easy Life misses the most. Before the pandemic, they were performing to packed rooms of adoring fans every night, and it’s now been over a year since they last got the opportunity to grace the stage with singles like ‘Daydreams’ and ‘Skeletons’ still yet to be played at a show.
“All we want to do is get back out on the road, so we have a purpose to continue to create new music,” Matravers says about the painful wait to return to the stage. “We were just saying how we felt people may have forgotten who we were and what we were,” he wholeheartedly added.
“Touring validates everything you do,” guitarist Lewis Berry says. “It’s like, ‘Fuck, there’s people listening’. You can look at all the statistics on Spotify, but it’s just numbers on a screen. Actually seeing people respond to the songs live is fucking nuts.”
“It’s super difficult actually to keep writing and work out what works because the touring really does give me, like Lew said, validation,” Matravers interjects. “If a certain song pops off, you know that it’s a good and others maybe don’t translate as well live. Especially when it comes to writing, it’s definitely a useful tool so you can road test them to see what works.”
Easy Life spoke to Far Out a matter of days after they made their US TV debut, a show which saw them play their new single ‘Skeletons’ for the first time. The recording, released to streaming services, is a chilled-out beauty, which Easy Life evolved into a majestic beast for the performance with a little helping hand from a spectacular brass section. “We’ve always done that,” Berry reflects. “I remember at our first gigs, and we used to do a weird interlude after every single song where we’d jam out. Doing our debut album, we wanted to push the songs as far as we can, and you want it to be different for when people see you live.”
“The record is for easy listening,” Cassidy explains. “You can put it on home, and it’s more chill rather than like in your face going crazy, whereas that’s what shows are about for us.”
Easy Life are thankful to Kimmel for allowing him to perform on his illustrious stage. However, they have a bone to pick after the acclaimed host introduced them as being from London rather than their native Leicester. “Yeah, we are pissed off,” Matravers semi-jokingly says in response to his thoughts on Kimmel’s faux-pas. “This is something I’ve had to explain a couple of times since. I think this is how it happened, we did record the session in London, so I’m not sure if he meant that they’re in London doing this or saying we were representing London because they are two completely different things.
“We had a lot of local fans kicking up a stink. It wasn’t very pleasant. We’re so proud of having done Jimmy Kimmel, but he’s kind of done us dirty there,” the singer adds.
Not many British bands can boast an appearance on Kimmel and two headline shows at Brixton Academy before releasing their debut album, but Easy Life can. It’s the holy grail for any group to one day sell out the world-famous venue, and it’s still not sunk in for Easy Life that it’s happening. “In terms of lifetime achievements,” Matravers notes. “Brixton was always an achievement that we set out for and wanted to get there. Now we are doing them, it’s like, ‘How did that happen?’ When we put the first one on sale, we were like, we are never going to sell that out. That’s a genuine thought as well. I’m not faking being humble.
“It’s the same when we first sold out a 400 cap venue, like 400 people is a lot of people and all coming to see us,” the singer fondly reminisces.
The Leicestershire boys are diving back into live-action at the deep-end on the Main Stage at Reading Festival, but Easy Life have falsely got their hopes up too many times over the last twelve months to get ahead of themselves yet.
Rising bands like Easy Life felt the repercussions of the pandemic more than most. Their Junk Food mixtape reached seven in the UK Album Chart last January, and 2020 looked set to be their year. However, a global pandemic brought everything to a halt, but Easy Life are coming out the other side with a debut album and smelling of roses.
“We managed to write the album over lockdown, finish it, produce it, mix it, blah blah blah,” explains Matravers, who characteristically paints a positive spin on the current situation. “It gave us a good space to obsess over the songs. For the first month, I think we’d all say it was a nice break. We were touring pretty hard and had a ruthless touring schedule. So for the first month, we didn’t do anything, I certainly didn’t — I did absolutely fuck all, just sat there and got stoned for a while, then we got back to work again.”
Easy Life have emerged out of this taxing period valiantly armed with their debut album —which arrives later this month just in time to be blasted tirelessly all summer. This moment is one they’ve been gradually building towards, and they warn listeners to expect the unexpected on Life’s A Beach.
“It’s all about wishing you were elsewhere, and the grass is always greener type philosophies,” Matravers says in regards to the escapist themes across the record.
“We deal with loads of stuff [on Life’s A Beach], although nothing too grandiose or thought-provoking,” he adds. “It’s mainly just day-to-day stuff like feeling anxious, or feeling like you should change certain aspects of your life, or why is your best mate cooler than you are and all those kinda things.”
Easy Life deliberately took their time to produce a debut album they want to share with the world and painstakingly refine it along the way. Berry wants fans to be “confused” after their first listen. “Not in a negative way,” the guitarist explains. “I want people to be like, ‘I need to put some more thought into this band’ and listen a few more times.”
Easy Life occupies a rare talent for managing to uncover the universal within the personal, one that sees Matravers muse on the mundanities of day-to-day life to the backdrop of luxurious jazz-infused beats expertly cooked up by his bandmates. Life’s A Beach looks to be their crowning moment, as Easy Life finally reach the destination they have been delectably gliding to since their incarnation.